An 18-year-old man from Essex whom police say swerved into the path of a bus, forcing the driver to make an emergency stop that led to a 90-year-old male passenger falling and sustaining life-threatening head injuries, has been arrested on suspicion of assault [see update, below] and dangerous cycling.
Police say that the incident happened at 10.45 on Saturday morning on North Avenue Chelmsford, with the cyclist fleeing the scene on foot prior to officers arriving, leaving behind his bike, which had been damaged in the collision with the bus.
Officers from Essex Police’s Serious Collision Investigation unit subsequently traced the man concerned.
A police spokesman quoted on ITV Anglia News said: "The allegation is that the cyclist caused the bus driver to brake heavily and as a result the passenger was injured - that could constitute assault."
Update: Chris Gurton, the grandson of the injured man has been in touch to let us know the full details, as he has them. They're posted on his blog, and reproduced below:
My Grandparents had been on the bus on the way back home from town on Saturday morning. They were sitting on the front row of seats on the bus. The ones that are usually signed as priority seats for the elderly and women with pushchairs. Ironically, it turns out that one of these seats is probably the most unsafe seat on the bus. Suddenly the bus had to perform an emergency stop out of the blue without warning. My Grandad was sitting on the seat nearest the isle. The luggage rack in front of them only covered the side my Grandma was sitting, therefore there was nothing in front of the seat on my Grandad’s side. The force of the emergency stop sent my him flying forward and crashing into the front of the bus beside the driver, head first.
The reason for the emergency stop was a teenager on his bike who rode out in front of the bus without warning or without looking, backed up by witness accounts and CCTV footage. The lad on the bike came off his bike but was generally ok. He had picked up his bike and moved to the roadside as a crowd of people gathered. Unfortunately, my Grandad wasn’t so lucky. He hit his head with such force, it had been cut open and was bleeding badly. The impact also broke his neck leaving him unconscious. According to the Doctors at the hospital, the neck break trapped a nerve which stopped him breathing and he also suffered a heart attack.
Thankfully an ambulance and paramedic arrived quickly after the bus driver had immediately called 999. On their arrival they rushed went to the cyclist to treat him. It was a witness who shouted at them to leave the cyclist as he was ok and deal with my Grandad on the bus. The paramedic took one look at him and immediately an Air Ambulance was called for and further assistance. The Air Ambulance bought a team of specialists who set about stitching up my Grandad’s head on site to try and avoid him needing a blood transfusion as he was losing a lot of blood.
By this time, the teenager, upon realising what had actually happened, left the scene. Police took witness statements and photographed the scene by which time my Grandad had been rushed to hospital. As I write this he is currently in an induced coma in intensive care so you can imagine this is quite difficult for me to write. But I feel I should, mainly to clear up a lot of confusion.
The incident has been reported in the local newspapers, on local radio and on some websites. However the report is rather vague and states the Cyclist was arrested and charged with assault, despite not really saying what happened. This has led to some people questioning why the cyclist was arrested for assault and questioning why my Grandad was standing up and why the bus driver was driving while he was standing up.
So I now need to clear a few more things up. I too initially assumed my Grandad was standing up at the time of the incident but as explained earlier and backed up by many witnesses, this was not the case. The driver did nothing wrong. In fact, he did everything right, including calling for an Ambulance extremely quickly. Even witnesses stated his reactions to the cyclist were lighting fast. I have nothing but sympathy for him as it has been quite a distressing experience to deal with. As for the lad on the bike, Police arrested him after he had fled the scene and appealed for him to come forward. Thanks to eye witness reports and the Bus’s CCTV footage he was charged with Dangerous Cycling and Involuntary GBH.
Some people may think this is pretty harsh or unfair, but evidence proves he was entirely at fault and caused the incident. I will openly admit it is quite a freak accident, but one that could have been avoided had he been paying attention and riding correctly within the law. After all, if a car driver caused a serious accident by pulling out in front of someone, they too would be charged by the police.
Hopefully this will give a clearer picture of what happened and you can understand why the cyclist has been charged and why I am glad he has been. The lad probably will deny any wrong doing and I’m pretty sure isn’t the kind of cyclist who rides for exercise and competition like many do who I will admit are generally courteous and respectful of the road laws. I use the word ‘generally’ though as there is one more incident I want to highlight.
You can imagine my shock and disgust the very next day after my Grandad’s incident. I was driving back from work when a Cyclist from Boxford Bike Club rode out of a side road in front of me without looking causing me to brake hard. He seemed oblivious to what he did and I was shocked and appalled at what had happened. I know he was a Cyclist from Boxford Bike Club as it was written on his Jersey. Perhaps that club needs to educate its members and tell them the consequences of their ignorant actions.
So I urge all cyclists, PLEASE take responsibility for your riding. Respect the road laws and highway code. I know some drivers can be a menace to cyclists, but make sure you are not at fault. We ALL need to take responsibility when out on the road whatever mode of transport we are using. I will continue to defend cyclists against rude and ignorant drivers, but I will not defend those at fault. That includes those who ride through red lights. You give all of us who enjoy riding bikes a bad name and if you get hit by a vehicle in the process of ignoring traffic signals you have only got yourself to blame.
Finally, I wish to thank all the Doctors, Nurses and Staff at Queen’s Hospital in Romford who are currently looking after my Grandad and Essex Police for all their efforts and for so kindly looking after my Grandma until my Dad could be with her.
I hope my Grandad will make a full recovery soon.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.